It’s a new chapter for discount airline NewLeaf.
After a slight failure to launch in February due to issues with licencing, NewLeaf Travel CEO Jim Young made a big announcement Thursday in Winnipeg.
“We want to thank Canadians for their patience,” Young said, before opening the company’s website for bookings.
The discount airline booking company is officially back in business, with its first flights taking off on July 25.
A rocky start led to cancelled flights and refunded tickets while the Canadian Transportation Agency reviewed operating licences for third-party air service carriers such as NewLeaf Travel.
At the time, the CTA didn’t not impose a stoppage on the company’s launch; however, NewLeaf decided to delay its start on the runway until the review was complete.
The travel company said it doesn’t need a licence because it doesn’t operate the planes, just books the flights.
The Canadian Transportation Agency agreed, leading to Thursday’s announcement at the James Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg.
Flights are now offered to an expanded list of 12 Canadian cities including Regina and Saskatoon – but no flights between the two.
Here are the others:
- Moncton, N.B.
- Kelowna, B.C.
- Kamloops, B.C.
- Fort St. John, B.C.
- Abbotsford, B.C.
Flights start at $89, and bookings are now open.
Extra fees will be added on for things like checked bags, larger carry-on bags, seat selection, check-in at the airport instead of online, and refreshments.
What remains to be seen is whether an appeal is filed on the recent CTA decision to grant the company permission to sell tickets.
Regina service starts with few flights
While NewLeaf is only offering flights twice a week to Kelowna from Regina – beginning July 28 – Regina Airport Authority president and CEO Dick Graham says it’s a good start.
“Fill the planes and we can certainly talk about doing more – new routes – new frequency,” Graham said following NewLeaf’s announcement.
The original launch of NewLeaf was to include flights from Regina to Hamilton and Abbotsford, B.C.
“If we can fill the planes into and out of Regina then we’re that much better off to receive another location.”
NewLeaf chief commercial officer Dean Dacko backed the up.
“We’re definitely committed to the market. We wanted to keep at least that foothold in the marketplace to let people in Regina know that we are there and that we are going to be growing.”
Graham says Kelowna is a popular location for travellers flying out of Regina. He says many people will benefit from the new flight option.
“Everyone likes a non-stop service. It’s a service where someone can head out on a Thursday afternoon and be back Sunday evening.”
He says it will be great for summer travellers, wine enthusiasts, and – in winter – skiers.